NGO intensifies protest against ECI on vote counting date row

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NGO intensifies protest against ECI on vote counting date row

Aizawl: On Thursday evening, the NGO Coordination Committee held a meeting where they decided to stage a huge protest as repeated requests to the Election Commission of India to change the date of counting of votes were ignored. The ECI had fixed Sunday, December 3, as the date for the counting of votes, which is a Sunday and a holy day for Christians, who form the majority of the population in the state.
Around 8 am on Friday, microphones in some areas of Mizoram announced a demonstration at 11 am later that day. He appealed to all members to come together to protect the Christian holy day.
By 11 am, the vicinity of Raj Bhavan was the largest crowd the state had seen in early July this year to protest the Kuki-Zo atrocities, except for a few hundred faces.

The NGO leaders announced that some school children were on their way and the crowd should wait a little longer.

Around one feet from the stage, the crowd which was made up mostly of 60 year olds and 70 year olds, were getting restless. One person said, “They announced it too late,” while another murmured, “It is really no use holding a rally now.”

Though the crowd increased to about 400 by 12pm, for the first time, it seemed that a demonstration called by the NGO Coordination Committee which had seen crowds in thousands gather at Raj Bhavan on previous occasions, had failed.

Two resolutions were passed at the demonstration, one that they “strongly condemn the fact that the Election Commission of India had scheduled the date of counting of votes for the Mizoram Assembly Elections 2023 on December 3, 2023 which falls on Sunday, a day of veneration for the Mizo Christian people.”

Second that “All the attendees of todays peaceful demonstration resolve that the Election Commission of India ( ECI) should reschedule the date of counting of votes on a date which is not Sunday.”

NGO intensifies protest against ECI on vote counting date row

V Rinawma, an 80-year-old had walked all the way to the site of the protest to show his resentment towards the ECI’s decision, he told media, “They should continue taking steps until the ECI changes its decision. India has not considered our religious rights in its decision. It seems like they are against our faith.”

Lungmuani, a 58-year-old from Tachhip village had also gathered at the protest with some of her friends. She told to media, “Sunday is a sacred day where we leave all our work behind.

I have come here leaving my house and my cows and my crops even though I have lot of work because I believe this issue is important.”

Even the NGOCC leaders were not happy with the numbers that had turned up. The NGOCC Chairman Lalhmachhuana started his speech saying, “It is a very sad occasion that we have to gather to protect our sacred day.

It is even sadder that there are people who do not have the inkling to understand that they need to protect their sacred day.”

He further said let us use this occasion to be united and requested that all party offices should be closed on the Counting Day on December 3. Lalhmachhuana also appealed that party representatives should not show up at the counting tables and that they should not receive their certificates.

NGO intensifies protest against ECI on vote counting date row

Media spoke to a few people to understand their opinion on the low turnout. “They gave the notification too late moreover people are busy because Christmas is approaching. It is not prioritised in peoples minds because the counting date is already very near.

Moreover, it is not that all people are going to participate. We cannot condemn people for not turning up because now it is very last minute,” said H Laldingliana from Tlangnuam.

“It cannot be helped that our views are different, there are many people now who do not really keep Sunday sacred so they do not really care about the issue. I am here because I hope they will change the date but if they do decide to hold the counting on this date, I am okay with that too,” said  a citizen from Ramhlun.

As per reports, while appeals were made to carry out the demonstration in all districts, it was only carried out in two districts, Champhai and Lunglei.

A journalist on the condition of anonymity who was not in support of the demonstration told to Media, “Why are they so threatened, does it mean their faith is not strong enough to get through the Counting day?” She also questioned their motives saying,

“The government officials make exceptions where they go to work on Sundays for example when the financial year is ending. This demonstration is just a matter of upholding their pride.”

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